My name is Justin. I am a startup founder spending one month in Silicon Valley fundraising. I’m documenting this journey to share my experiences with other founders considering making the trek for the first time. Hope this helps!
Week 1 Recap:
I thought I was coming to learn about life in Silicon Valley. But after one week of living with people from Norway, Russia, Iran, Canada, Tokyo, Germany and my boy Ali G, I’m learning so much more.
The Founders Base “Hacker House” is really just the Takeuchis house, and they are incredible hosts. The bunks are clean and comfortable. Mrs. Takeuchi makes three home cooked meals every day for me and the other 8-12 guests staying with the family. The food is served family style, and everyone sits around the table talking about what they are doing, where they are going, and fielding questions about their homeland. Everyone has a unique background. Here are a few examples:
Prince—a world-renowned photographer who drives for Uber in the city to build connections for his startup idea.
Morgan—an MBA student working for Impossible Foods, a $125M backed food startup that makes vegan burgers that bleed.
Jackie—a 19-year-old coming to work at Tinder for her summer internship. He says he found a way to beat the airline industry and traveled to 13 countries last year without paying for tickets by gaming the airline credit card reward system.
I have to say this place is a great find! It is located in between San Francisco and San Jose, making it the perfect place to post up all for only $40 per night!
San Francisco is an interesting place. It reminds me of an artsy New York. The city is a large grid of office buildings, restaurants and apartments nestled on some hilly knolls. Parking is a problem in SOMA, where most startup meetings will occur in the city. Leave early and be prepared to walk a good amount unless you want to pay $12 an hour for parking close to downtown. Stable is an awesome coffee shop for meetings and working while in the city.
Once you get outside of San Francisco, it's a nature lover's paradise. In 30 minutes, you can be hiking in the redwoods on top of a mountain or watching the waves crash at Half Moon Bay.
The Silicon Valley Open Doors Conference
I found the SVOD conference on Startup Digest. This 2-day event brought startups and investors from all over the world together. Investors had badges on, so I could easily stalk them on Google and introduce myself if they invest in early stage digital media companies. Using this tactic, I was able to line up a meeting with an angel group and an individual angel for this week.
- Don't wait in line to speak with an investor—wait until the investor grabs water or is standing alone for more than five seconds.
- Don't approach an investor while he or she is checking email or on the phone.
- Don't take more than two sentences to explain what you do.
Sitting through 25 startup pitches in a room full of investors was absolute torture. At one point, I pictured myself climbing a pole in the middle of the theater and wooing every investor in the room with a perfectly delivered SnapYeti pitch. Instead, I chickened out and watched as others who had prepared for this glorious opportunity took their shot on stage. I was kicking myself for not thinking ahead and applying to be on stage myself.
If you are heading out this way, find all the monthly pitch events and conferences in town and contact the point person 2-3 months (or longer) before your visit so you can try to secure a spot on the big stage. Here are a few monthly pitch events in and around Silicon Valley you can check out: Pitch Force, Keiretsu Forum, Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Meetup.
Early investor feedback
I had a few investors say they only invest local while others say they have no problem investing outside of Silicon Valley. Some investors think it is too early to worry about monetization, others say it is a good idea to layer it in early. In the end, this is all a numbers game. We will find the right fit.
This week, I'll be checking out the Galvanize co-working space, attending events, having meetings and lining up new meetings. If you know anyone I should be in touch with, shoot me an email: Justin at SnapYeti dot com.
Weekend activities outside of San Francisco
Here are a few awesome things to do explore during the weekend:
That is it for now! Feel free to leave a comment/suggestion below and help me share this journey with others.
Until next week,
p.s. How many yetis can you count?